Paint Dexter welcomes awarding judge Kevin Barton!

Kevin’s Biography

Over the past almost twenty years, Kevin Barton of Petoskey has become one of northern Michigan’s most well-collected artists with paintings hanging in collections across the nation. In addition to winning numerous awards and accolades, including the Manoogian Museum’s Gold Medal Award, Signature Member status with the American Impressionist Society, and most recently Best of Show at the Crooked Tree Arts Center annual paint-out in 2014, Mr. Barton’s work has also been featured or chosen for many covers and posters for known events including being the only artist to win Mackinac Island’s Lilac Festival poster contest two consecutive years.

Barton is glad to reside in northern Michigan with its wealth of subject matter befitting his tastes and talents with painting.  From the Great Lakes with its boats to its diverse architecture, gardens, townscapes and sunsets, it provides endless opportunities for new compositions. Driving a little inland, there is an array of fields and farms to make the many varied pastoral scenes he has so enjoyed painting.

His painting has also taken him to places like Sedona, California, Chicago, New York City (with a group show at the prestigious Amsterdam Whitney Gallery) and most recently to Key West and other Florida locales.

In Michigan he frequently travels and paints on Mackinac Island as well as to the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. These new and different locations have increased the range in his body of work and his intuitive sense for capturing the subtle qualities of differing light.

In 2016, as part of recognizing the 20th anniversary of his career as a full-time artist, the Crooked Tree Arts Center will be hosting a retrospective in the Ermy B.  and Gordon B. Bonfield Gallery with the working title of “Lost to the Wind.” The show will encompass paintings spanning all twenty years and highlight different areas and aspects of the artist’s progress with short stories accompanying many of the paintings relating either to the creation of the paintings or insights into the creative process at the time.

Barton maintains a gallery above the historic Symons General Store in Petoskey.

Artist Statement

“It looks just like it … but it doesn’t.”  – Six-year old child on Mackinac Island

This was one of those instances where kids say the darndest things. The word
“art” means different things to different people and could range from photo realism to abstract expressionism in painting.  When she said, “It looks just like it,” I was of course pleased someone so young could recognize exactly what I was painting on location, but, when she added after a pause, “but it doesn’t,” I was even happier. Yes, I enjoy capturing the specific details of a subject, yet I want people to know they are looking at a “painting.”  I want it to have style almost like a world made of paint. They should engage the viewer and uniquely instill in them a sense of participating in something timeless.

Another comment people often make is that my work “pops” or is 3-D.  Regardless of my subject matter, I use shapes of bold color and thick impasto brush strokes to create a sense of depth in the style of post-impressionism. The Impressionists themselves, the Fauvists and The Group of Seven (Canadian) are also chief influences and from painting to painting you may notice me creating more with light like an Impressionist or focusing on bright powerful color like a Fauve.

I enjoy plein-air not only for the quality and sensitivity to light it brings, but also for the sense of spontaneity and creative solutions it brings to the process and brush work. I often spend winter months creating large scale studio pieces on commission from my on location “studies,” which are truly finished paintings in their own right. I occasionally work from photography.

I read years ago about a certain musician that the mark of his greatness was that every time you listen to one of his songs you heard something new. I have always done my best to add that quality to my paintings so that they continue to grow on the collector.

More Information about Kevin

Kevin’s website:

To contact Kevin directly, his email address: